Stuck in a difficult marriage? It IS possible to fix a broken marriage — it’s just not always easy. Here are 6 things you need to know before you try.
Guest Post by Donna
This year my husband and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Forty years of good times, bad times, and everything in between.
Because while we are very happy now, it hasn’t always been this way.
My husband and I married when I was 20 and he was 25. Both relatively young, neither of us really had been taught the skills we needed to deal with the conflict that inevitably happens within a life-long marriage.
I hate drama, and would deal with conflict by avoidance and withdrawal. My husband, on the other hand, would try to win any argument with anger. Anger was his means of controlling the world around him.
All relationships involve two imperfect people, and we were no exception.
As you can imagine – this led to some rocky times over the years!
Over the last forty years, I’ve learned so much about how to fix a broken marriage. And now, I’d like to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned on the way to a loving and healthy marriage with you.
Whether you need to fix a broken marriage or simply strengthen the good marriage you already have, hopefully these insights will encourage you and strengthen you in your marriage today.
Want to fix your broken marriage? Here’s what you need to know…
1. You Can Fix a Broken Marriage – But You Can’t “Fix” Him
As your husband’s wife, you are closer to him than anyone else. This means you can see all his flaws. This does NOT mean, however, that it’s your job to fix them. A change in behavior must come through a change of heart, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
You can pray for your husband. You can encourage your husband. You can build your husband up. But you can’t change him or make him do anything he does not want to do. Let me state this clearly: Nagging doesn’t work!
You can fix a broken marriage, you can fix your attitude, but you can’t “fix” your husband.
See the good in him, love him for who he is, and let the Holy Spirit deal with the rest.
2. Your Husband’s Anger Isn’t Always About You
While it’s very tempting to feel wounded and take it personally when your husband is angry or in a bad mood, your husband’s anger may not be about you at all. Sometimes a husband will simply take his frustrations out on a wife because she is there and he feels safe doing so.
(Whether this is right or wrong – we all do it sometimes.)
It is very freeing to realize he can be in a bad mood, and it doesn’t have to be your fault or your responsibility.
I used to get very hurt and wounded when my husband would get angry. Now I am able to let him spout off and get it out of his system when he needs to without getting personally offended.
The good news is: if he is talking, you at least know what is going on. He is sharing what is going on in his emotions and he is being open enough to let you know what he is going through. Do your best to ignore the anger and listen to what he’s really saying. What’s really going on? What is he really angry about?
3. You Have to Own Up to Your Part in the Problem
That being said, sometimes it IS about you or there are things you are doing that contribute to the situation and make it worse. And you cannot fix a broken marriage unless you are willing to take responsibility for your half.
You must be willing to ask the Lord to show you the areas in your life that are not what they should be and brave enough to make the necessary changes. All of our motives are not always as pure as we want to think they are, and we all have plenty of room for improvement.
Ask yourself: How am I adding to the situation? Are there things I am doing or failing to do? Am I setting my husband up for success? Do I give him the benefit of the doubt and turn the other cheek? Do I always respond in love and grace?
It doesn’t matter if your husband is a jerk or the sweetest man alive. We are always responsible for our responses, no matter the circumstances. It is not your husband’s job to make you happy. You must own up to your part of the situation as well.
Related Reading: 6 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Work on Your Marriage
4. Divorce Isn’t the Only Way to Fix a Broken Marriage
Please take this the right way: While there are definitely times when divorce is okay or even necessary, divorce is not the only option. And sometimes, God may be calling you to endure a rough season so that you can reap the reward later.
That’s how it was for me.
At one point, our marriage had deteriorated to the point that I had gone numb emotionally. I knew we were in trouble, but did not see a way out. I considered contacting a lawyer to protect myself and my children in the event my marriage failed.
I remember specifically asking God, “Can I give him back?”
I very quickly and emphatically got a “no.”
Yes, there are good reasons to walk away, and I may have even been justified in doing so, but I knew God had other plans for me and for my marriage.
So I determined in my heart that if my marriage failed, it would be because my husband walked away, not me. I wasn’t giving up on my marriage.
Related Reading: Is Divorce Ever Okay?
5. When You Can’t Do it For Him, Do it Out of Obedience to the Lord.
This decision made a huge difference in how I handled conflict.
I realize that I had to choose how I would respond. When we had a disagreement and I felt he was treating me unfairly, I had a choice: I could sulk. I could try to “win” the argument. I could try other tactics.
But instead I asked myself: “If divorce is not an option, and you don’t want to stay where you are in your marriage, what response will bring healing? What is the right thing to do?”
I chose to fix my broken marriage rather than fight for my rights.
It wasn’t always easy. But in the most difficult days, when I didn’t have much to give, I did my best to love my husband out of obedience to the Lord.
And I believe the Lord saw my heart and honored this commitment.
6. It Can Take a Long Time for the Answer to Your Prayers to Come – And it May not be the Way you Want
Sometimes God answers prayer right away. Other times, God says wait.
I prayed for many years to the Lord to fix my broken marriage before the answer came. And when He did finally respond, it certainly wasn’t in the way that I expected.
The game changer in my marriage came in the form of a crisis. It was very painful at the time, but I thank God that it happened. Looking back, it was the only situation that we could have gone through that would have produced the healing we needed.
Yet, while it was painful at the time, it was also a time of spiritual growth and intimacy with the Lord.
I’ve heard it said that the Lord does not waste any pain. I have found this to be true – at least in my life. So if you are dealing with a broken marriage right now, don’t give up just yet. Use this season of life to get to know the Lord in a very real way. He is there and has not abandoned you. God has a plan for your life, and it’s a good one.
Related Reading: When God Says Wait
After forty years, I can say with confidence that marriage isn’t always easy. And yet, it has all been worth it.
That same husband I wanted to give back all those years ago? Now I love him with all my heart. He treats me with love and respect. I watch him daily try to please me and care for me. We often look at each other and know what the other is thinking without saying the words. There is no one on this earth who knows me better than my husband.
I thank the Lord often that I have the privilege to call him my husband and friend.
If you’re looking for encouragement as you try to fix a broken marriage, just know that there is hope. The Lord has honored my faith and obedience and healed my broken marriage, and I know He can for you too.
Have you ever gone through an especially difficult season in your marriage? How did you get through it?